Luka Bloom » live reviews
Luka Bloom - Live in Concert
Derry 2005 Vicar Street, Dublin New York June 2004
 concert » reviewed by
23-04-2003  Fabrik, Hamburg, Germany
Sabine Schellack (Germany)
28-04-2003  Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Jolande (Netherlands)
29-04-2003  Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
Dirk Goris (Belgium)
17-05-2003  Iron Horse, Northampton, MA, USA
Vicky Romani (USA)
27-05-2003  Bickford Theater, Morristown, NJ, USA
Vicky Romani (New York, USA)
29-06-2003  Parkpop, The Hague, Netherlands
Jolande (Netherlands)
23-08-2003  Feeling the World Festival, Mortsel, Belgium
Dirk Goris (Belgium)
23-08-2003  Feeling the World Festival, Mortsel, Belgium
Rena Bergholz (Germany)
30-08-2003  Lisdoonvarna Festival @ RDS, Dublin, Ireland
Paula Diemer (USA)

Fabrik, Hamburg
Wednesday, 23 April 2003

Have I said that before? I doubt it - so I will say it here: This was the best ever Luka Bloom concert I have been to. I cannot supply you with a setlist, as I was too busy listening. We were ensnared by Luka's brilliant, clear, sharp, accurate (this word is coming from a virgo singing in a church choir) voice tonight in a well filled "Fabrik", one of the oldest Hamburg venues. I reckon we were about 800 people in this old factory which serves as THE place for fine musicians. And this is what Luka was tonight - a brilliant musician. Everybody could feel the joy of playing a guitar really well, and singing in front of a dedicated crowd. (Even though we had the unavoidable Irish heckler, a mobile phone playing a stupid tune while we all were doing our best at the "Fertile Rock" and a baby trying to sing along with us for a while :-))

We heard 3 songs which were new to me tonight: Primavera (the subject line is a quote from this beautiful Fado ) St. Bridghid's Song (lovely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and of course the I am not at war - song -------- and I am sure I have forgotten another one.

Wherever you are - don't hesitate - go to the next Luka Bloom concert near you and ENJOY!

- Sabine

> setlist

Melkweg, Amsterdam
Monday, 28 April 2003

Brilliant concert. I know I always say that the next day... Suppose it's like making love; it's always good, but sometimes it extra extra special... Last night was one of those mega mega good concerts. Absolutely!
That someone suggesting Raglan Road was our very own Yvette. Many thanks, girl!!!

Best version of Delirious ever ever ever. And if I remember rightly he said he wasn't planning on playing it at first... Sooooooooooo glad he did. Gave him a big sloppy kiss for it afterwards. Probably freaked him out completely and now he'll never dare to play it again. Sorry guys.

Suggested a SARS-dedicated version of Irishman in Chinatown to one of his buddies. You never know...

- Sandra

> setlist
> concert photos
> Lukalister @ De Melkweg

Ancienne Belgique, Brussels
Tuesday, 29 April 2003

What a great night! After reading the Amsterdam reviews I thought he would be dog-tired and that the AB gig would be much shorter and less dynamic.

He proofed me wrong in every way!
After almost 2 hours of playing his heart out he came on stage with Mohammed. What an amazing combination that was. They played 4 songs together and you could clearly see that they are good friends. After the show I had the chance to speak with Mohammed and he's a very nice chap indeed!

I was very glad that it was a seated concert. I'm 1.93m long and every time I go to a standing concert people ask me to move to the back (which I never do). Also I feel it's better to concentrate on the magic seated than standing. Nobody pushes you and you don't get tired in the legs.

As Nico I also like the songs Delirious and acoustic motorbike but I'm happy he played some new songs instead. I'm very much looking forward to a complete new album. He's been touring with his old song a little bit to long for my taste. He's still growing as an artist and it would be a shame if he didn't, on a regular basis, produce new songs anymore.

The new Primavera song was beautiful as where the other new ones. For me only the last one wasn't as good as the others. As Nico said his voice couldn't handle it. It also reminded me too much about his song Gabriel.

- Dirk

Iron Horse, Northampton
Saturday, 17 May 2003

There was a brilliant vibe at the Iron Horse in Northampton last night. Lovely audience and as usual, Paul, Niall, Luka and let's not forget Coogee, Rudy and Judy were in fine form.

The new songs were REALLY WONDERFUL and it was wonderful to be able to hear 'don't be afraid of the light that shines' for the first time. I loved 'Mohammed', 'Healing Time', 'Who knows' and 'Primavera' as well. The audience did a a lovely job with the singalongs...because Luka was on curfew as he had to leave the stage close to 9 he didn't talk as much and tried to play as many songs as he could.

I can't remember the exact order but this is what I do remember he played:
1. I am not at war....(with new words)...really brilliant!!!!
2. Who knows
3. Here and Now
4. Sunny Sailor Boy
5. Fertile Rock
6. Here and Now
7. Primavera
8. Mohammed
9. Raglan Road ---how is it that he's ALWAYS getting BETTER at this's sooo lovely....amazing!!
10. Diamond Mountain
11. Dreams in America
12. Perfect Groove
13. Exploring the Blue ---> Black is the Color ----> Te Adoro ----> Black is the color
14. Blackberry time
15. Natural Mystic
16. Gone to Pablo
17. Ciara
18. Delirious
19. Don't be afraid of the light
20. Rainbow Day <---great singalong!!
21. I'm a bogman
22. healing time

I'm probably forgetting something...loads of great music...and lots of great whooping and cheering by the audience! Two standing ovations! This audience was really into the music knew the songs to sing with...and just were a lot of fun and really nice.

All in all and brilliant night and an amazing amount of music played for someone who was on curfew and had to be off the stage by 9pm!! Woohooo!!!! Luka was a smiling man...and I assure you so was every person that walked out of the Iron Horse last night!!!!

- Vicky

Bickford Theater, Morristown
Sunday, 27 May 2003

Okay soooo the final concert of the tour. Deb, btw, did a brilliant job of promoting the concert and I think Luka was happy with the turn out because he asked 'who told you all about me?'... (-: And everyone pointed at Deb...well it was sort of a a wave point which Luka got a kick out of as well. LOL... So she deservedly got the lovely bouquet at the end of the night!!! Well done Deb!!!!!

We were sitting fourth row in the middle... I was with a great friend and all we could do was look at each other when the concert was done and say 'wowwww'...and we'd seen quite a few concerts. It was a great end to a 7 gig run for me... I LOVED the felt like he was in a den/living room...and he said the swords crossed over the fireplace were reserved for the NYC heckler that they wondered might show up. LOL!!! He also mentioned that it's always interesting to see what people chose to put over their fireplaces.

He was smiling a bit after the first song and said he got a bit lost because of the acoustics of the theater you get the sound slapped back at you so he could hear himself and was wondering 'that doesn't sound too bad'! He was hooked into a PA system which at first took getting used to because he sounded further away, but one we got used to it, it was GREAT. He sounded great and so did the guitars. Lots of lovely chat...mostly the intros but he was in a great mood and seemed to be having fun...

He noticed the cowboy photo in the den and asked who it was and it was Roy Rogers, so he said he would sing a song by another cowboy and went into the Bob Dylan cover.

I really don't remember him ending with exploring the blue...I remember it played but not that it was the last song...but I trust Karen's setlist.

Also, really just amazing goose bump vibe when he turned off all the equipment and came down from the stage and played 'don't be afraid of the light'... You could hear really well completely acoustic..I guess because it was a theater...and he walked around the audience.

He has to do this in Glór in Clare, for those of you have been there you'll likely know what I mean....the acoustics are amazing and he could walk down the aisles there. He'd have too much fun and so would the audience. (-: Just as happened at the Bickford... Good singing crowd!!! And he seemed to love the people singing along. He went back to the mic to finish the song. For me that was the stand out part of the night's performance. Being circled by Luka and the whole audience singing along. Brilliant!

He said that he'd been watching TV the night before and saw Kris Kristofersen, and was reminded that with his movies, people often forget how great a songwriter he is...and that led to 'don't tell me how the story ends'... Sniffly one. It's hauntingly beautiful but I find it to be a very sad song...

It was great to hear it after so long just the same. I found that he'd pull out a song at almost each gig that I'd not heard him do in a long while. GREAT STUFF!

Afterwards, we got to say g'bye and wish him well... And with that the boys were off...another brilliant US tour come to a close!

- Vicky

> setlist

Parkpop Festival, The Hague
Sunday, 29 June 2003

We got there early, during Kathleen Edwards' set, and after that we managed to get right to the front. Well, between Kathleen and Luka was a band called SKA-P, how shall I put this, a Spanish punk/ska band, very anti-a lot and with an enthousiastic crowd to back them up. We ended up going all the way to the back again because we almost got crushed.

Then Luka. He played a lively set. And Mohamed joined him towards the end to play "Monsoon" and "Perfect Groove", which was great. I am trying to think of what to say about the show. I liked the fact that it was lively, that suited the festival and the crowd (and the temperature), he played over 50 minutes, he played a great "In Between Days" and "Ciara". I am not a festival person though. It was too big for me and too crowded, and the stage was huge and far away. We ended up standing quite near the front again, but it was still far away. So give me De Melkweg any time.. Luka once said somewhere he needs an audience to win over, and I guess in that respect he got what he needs and he did get a good response.

- Jolande

> setlist & photos

Feeling the World Festival @ Fort 4, Mortsel (Antwerp)
Saturday, 23 August 2003

What a memorable night it was yesterday! Luka took the stage at 11pm and until 0.35am the complete audience was at his feet. An estimate of 5000 people where completely blown away by a guy who gets more funny, more confident and musically more interesting with every year that passes. He played several new songs which is a rare thing for him to do during festival appearances. Thanks to the Lukalisters who where present. This was an evening never to forget.

- Dirk

> photos

Feeling the World Festival @ Fort 4, Mortsel (Antwerp)
Saturday, 23 August 2003

Normally a "fort" is not a place I dream of, but this one was a great and very beautiful venue for a very special event. Was it already a wonderful background for the brilliant artists of this festival in the afternoon, the place became even more special in the darkness. At a time he normally used to finish his concerts, this one began, but nobody was feeling tired at any time of the show, and so he continued to perform as long as possible, finally having mercy with the crew who was working there.

Luka began with some of his softer songs 'Love is a place I dream of', 'Here and Now' and 'Make you feel my Love', the right songs for some romantic feelings... He also played some of his very new songs. One of the latest, just written a week ago, was a very beautiful song about the remark of a 7-year-old girl who was walking along a beach with her father, enjoying the time she spent with him: 'Thank you for bringing me here'!

by Dirk Goris He sang again 'Primavera' - a new song inspired by the Portuguese singer Mariza and her impressive concert in Dublin some time ago - and his song about 'Mohamed'. It was the first time that I've heard him introduce this song by a title 'No matter where you go, there you are'!

'I am not at war with anyone' got a very special touch yesterday night, when he performed it together with Eva De Roovere, one of the wonderful singers of the group 'Oblomow'. Other great songs were I'm a Bogman, The Fertile Rock, Natural Mystic, Exploring the Blue, and the always outstanding 'Te Adoro', this time not included in Black is the Colour! He finished the main set with 'I Need Love'.

The first encores were Sunny Sailor Boy, Perfect Groove and You Couldn't Have Come at a Better Time.

A brilliant version of U2's 'Bad' followed in a second encore and finally he finished with the perfect closing song for this unforgettable night, his a cappella version of "I'll walk beside you to the land of dreams... beneath the starry skies ablaze with light"!!

The words of this beautiful song accompanied us when we were walking through the darkness to the gates of the fort, our way more ablazed by the light of some lightning hidden between the trees than of the few stars, but for sure it was not less beautiful...

We enjoyed this wonderful festival very much! There was a lot of great music by some great musicians, and the absolute highlight was Luka's show at the end of the day!

- Rena

> setlist

Lisdoonvarna Festival @ RDS, Dublin
Saturday, 30 August 2003

Had a great trip to Ireland last week, seeing everything from crowded clubs in the city of Dublin, to ancient court tombs, to a tiny island where the only internet cafe closed at 6 pm.

Lisdoonvarna was wonderful, and Luka was of course a highlight. Unfortunately my posse straggled in slowly, after being distracted from the Second Stage after Damien Dempsey's set by Mundy over on the Main Stage. I got back just as Make You Feel My Love was starting, but Luka was in fine form and put on an amazing show, much too short of course. My friends who came along were blown away and Luka surely has lots of new fans.

Luka and Niall Setlist included:
Make you Feel my Love
Fertile Rock
Perfect Groove
Wherever you go there you are (better known to us as Mohammed, but he called it by the new title)
Sunny Sailor Boy
Dublin 4, written especially for the day.

He said he had been looking forward to singing Fertile Rock in the real Lisdoonvarna, but he played it for us anyway. For the last song he introduced a song 'so new he's just written it this morning', and he needed help remembering the lyrics so his tour manager Niall had kindly agreed to help. Enter Niall with a sheet of paper, holding it up for Luka to read as he went along. So he started to sing to the tune of Christy Moore's Lisdoonvarna "Oh Dublin, Dublin Fo-ur, Dublin Dublin Dublin fo-ur" with lyrics about yuppies and latte, making fun of the fact that the event was being held in one of the posher districts of the city. The lyrics are already posted on the message board on, as well as on where there are lots of comments about Luka's performance as well.

Here are a few completely unsolicited compliments, taken from my friends'
reviews on the David Gray message board:
"...then off to Luka and my god he was outstanding" - Mark
"even though I only got to see the last few songs of Mr. Bloom he was deadly
(despite missing my song!)" - Ciara
"Luka was unbelievable Ooh Dublin 4, Dublin, Dublin, Dublin 4" - Dave

Other artists were excellent as well, particularly Josh Ritter who was so happy to be there, he never stopped smiling for even a second. Damien Dempsey was excellent, his music hasn't really grabbed me but his performance and stage presence are impressive, and he was joined for his last few songs by Sinead O'Connor. Mark Geary is another new talent to watch, a couple of highlights of the day for me were his duet with Josh Ritter on the Everly Brothers "When Will I Be Loved" and another duet with Mark and Glen Hansard. Wish I'd seen more, especially of the acoustic stage where the least known performers were, but I was with friends who I rarely see and we spent loads of time sitting on the center lawn enjoying the sunshine and great company.

- cheers, Paula

Photo by Ciara Drennan

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